3 Powerful Ways That Forgiveness is Critical to Your Business and Personal Success

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“We forgive freely or we do not really forgive at all.”~ Lewis B. Smedes

Who likes to think about all of the things that they have done that they probably should not have done and repent for them? It’s a little uncomfortable, admitting you screwed up, asking forgiveness.

So I’ve spent some time really thinking about three key lessons that we all can learn about forgiveness.

  • Ask forgiveness.
  • Grant forgiveness.
  • Forgive yourself.

Here are some thoughts about each one of those life-affirming and life-changing tools …

1.  Ask forgiveness.

This one sounds so simple and yet I know it can be very hard. I know people who can hardly utter the words “I’m sorry,” much less “Please forgive me.” Yet those words have such healing power. To the person you have wronged, just hearing you say words of apology may go a long way toward rectifying the situation and putting your relationship back on track. If nothing else, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

But to go deeper—asking forgiveness means accepting responsibility for your actions. This is critical to leading a successful life. You must understand and grasp that you are 100% responsible for your actions, both good and bad. And when the consequences are not positive, you need to take the steps to make amends, even when it is difficult to swallow your pride and do that.

It’s probably clear how this can affect your personal life, but it can also seriously impact your legal practice. What if you accidentally overcharged a client, or didn’t deliver on a promise in a timely manner, or forgot to respond to their e-mail? You must apologize. It’s the right thing to do. It doesn’t matter who is at fault—it’s your practice. And when you do, not only will you redeem that relationship, but you will have deepened the relationship by showing that you are a person of integrity and a good person to work with.

2.  Forgive others.

There is no need to hold a grudge. It does not serve you—it only hurts you. If someone has asked for your forgiveness, give it to him or her. It was probably hard to ask, so be gracious.

And if someone has not asked for your forgiveness and has hurt you somehow, forgive them anyway. If you don’t forgive them in your own heart, you are giving them control over your emotions and feelings that they should not have. You are allowing them to make you feel angry, hurt, frustrated, and a host of other nasty things. Why are you giving them that power over you, especially if you are unhappy with them in the first place?

Again, it comes back to personal responsibility. Take responsibility for your feelings and actions. By forgiving, you release yourself from the emotional bondage you are in. That is a beautiful feeling—to know that you and you alone are truly in control of your reactions to the world and people around you.

3.  Forgive yourself.

Now this can also be very difficult. We learn from childhood to ask forgiveness and grant forgiveness, but we don’t learn to forgive ourselves.

I am harder on myself than I am on any other person. I am not proud of this, and I am getting much better about it, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. I should be as gentle, compassionate, and positive with myself as I am with my children, husband, family or friends. But I’m not. I sometimes shower myself with self-criticism—that I’m not smart enough or good enough to accomplish the big dreams I have. I beat myself up for little mistakes and grant myself no leeway.

We must remember that we are human beings just like everyone else. We make mistakes. We take longer to learn something than we want to. We say or do silly things. We break things. So what? Do we have to keep beating ourselves up for it?

Love yourself, and because you love yourself, forgive yourself. Be gentle and loving and compassionate with yourself, just as you would be with a small child or loved one. The love that you feel for yourself will shine through in your relationships with others and your business. And it will make your life so much more joyful. So give yourself a break. Tell yourself it’s “okay” to make a mistake or head in the wrong direction for a while. If you would forgive someone else for doing the same thing, why not forgive yourself?

TODAY: Think about these questions: Who can you ask for forgiveness? Who can you forgive? What can you forgive yourself for? Start down the path of forgiveness in these three ways and you’ll see great changes in your life!

 

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